Zara was scrolling through job adverts and stopped as she found the perfect one. But the school offered the International Baccalaureate (IB). Zara had never taught IB, in fact, she wasn’t even sure she knew what it was.
But she needn’t have worried. Although many people think the IB is more complicated and vastly different from the UK system, it’s an exciting and interesting programme to get involved in.
If you’re interested in applying for a job at an IB school, here’s how to begin:
1. Visit the IB website
The International Baccalaureate website is a great place to start, offering a thorough explanation of the different IB qualifications, how they are assessed and the principles behind the IB philosophy.
Oliver Furnival, a teacher of humanities at the Anglo European School in Ingatestone, Essex, describes the IB World website as being “really good for pedagogy ideas”.
“The IB places a big emphasis on high-level thinking skills, so I’d definitely recommend teachers applying for jobs in IB schools to think about how they analyse, synthesise, and evaluate and applying knowledge.”
2. Connect with the IB online community
There is a huge amount of support out there for IB teachers, including on Facebook, Twitter and the Tes forums – where experienced teachers of the IB are happy to offer their wisdom to newcomers.
“The IB group on Facebook is brilliant because it is such a large forum,” says Freya Odell, an English teacher at St George’s British International School in Rome.
“People share their planning in the resource section. If you have any questions about the course or content, you can post on the forum and there will always be people to answer.”
3. Brush up on your theory of knowledge
The theory of knowledge is one of the most interesting aspects of the IB programme. Many A-level and GCSE teachers know all too well the students’ lament of “Why do we need to know this?”.
The IB tackles this head-on with key enquiries such as “what is a fact?” and “what is the role of the author?” woven through all of their subjects.
A good place to start would be your own undergraduate theory books; brush up on Rousseau and Locke before your interview, as well as listening to podcasts such as BBC Radio Four’s Thinking Aloud and the Tes Podagogy podcast.
4. Check out the essay titles
To get a flavour of what you’re going to be teaching, have a look at the extended essay titles in your subject. You can even include some of this research in your application to demonstrate that you have researched the school and understand the IB philosophy.
5. Sell what you’ve got
Consider your own experience and link it to what you’ve learned about the IB. Do you have experience working with whole community projects or organisations such as Scouts or Guides? Have you spent time in other countries either visiting or working?
All of these experiences would be really valued in an IB school, so definitely work them into your covering letter or application form, and look for ways you can bring them up at interview.